Do you offer the children in your classroom a “ta-da” moment every day? I know, you’re thinking, “what the heck is she talking about?” Well, let me explain.
Have you ever been trying to figure something out – a problem for school or work or home? Have you ever racked your brain for the answer? Then all of a sudden it hits you! Ah HA! You know the answer and off you go full of excitement and feelings of enlightenment and power. Well that is a a “ta-da” moment!
Now, lets put that into an educational context.
Think back to when you were in school. Which class did you actually take away the knowledge from; the one where the teacher lectured for an hour or the lab where you performed the tasks and discovered the answer? I’m guessing most of you chose the latter. I know I did (I am totally a kinesthetic learner). That’s how young children learn as well. Hands on discovery!
So let me explain.
Studies have shown that we retain more information when we actually do something. About 10% of our knowledge comes from simply seeing. Roughly 35% from hearing and 90% is remembered when we add doing!
Here are a few things that produce that “ta-da” moment for your class.
For very young children just learning their colors, give them yellow and blue finger paint. A dollop of each in two corners. Then let them explore. Before you know it, “TA-DA” – look teacher, I made green!
Grow butterflies! You can purchase caterpillars and let the class watch as they grow, become chrysalids, and then emerge a different creature! You can show them pictures, but the process itself – the waiting for them to change – instills a knowledge they won’t soon forget!
Activities like sink and float (provide items that will sink or float, a tub of water, and laminated cards to use once the property is discovered), planting seeds (especially if you eat the fruit!), playing in snow – without gloves! All of these things help children to discover knowledge without you guiding the activity. All you do is provide the materials and, perhaps, give them some words – “Wow, does that snow feel cold on your hands?” (then go indoors and wash your hands noting the water feels warm).
Bring in animals that the kids can touch and interact with.
Simulate the real thing – hands on creates an understanding.
Pay attention to what your class is interested in – what kinds of questions do they have? Then provide them with what they need to discover the answers.
So what do you do now?
Here’s my challenge to you. When you do your planning for the next week, plan at least one “ta-da” moment. Then watch what happens when they discover some new knowledge! And then you too, have a “ta-da” moment!
I’d love to hear what you did and how it worked!